Homemade buns fresh from the oven?
Daddy time without the helmet?
Speeding along with the wind in your hair?
While these were all happy moments, they were also all temporary. The buns disappeared within a few hours. Calvin's helmet went back on his head after it was cleaned. And my little speedster had to come inside and get ready for bed not long after her joy ride.
Is this the best life has to offer? Fleeting moments of happiness utterly dependent upon our circumstances? Or is there something more? According to God's Word, there is a happiness that depends not upon our physical circumstances. And it can last forever. Interested?
Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold... Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her. Proverbs 3: 13-14, 17-18
So wisdom brings happiness. What is wisdom? In the Bible, wisdom is much more than book smarts. I guess you could say it's The Book smarts. Wisdom has to do with not just knowing, but doing the right thing. It cannot be divorced from God's moral law. In short, wisdom is living out our daily lives in obedience to God. And how does one get wisdom?
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5 Solomon is a good example of a man who asked God for wisdom so that he could rule God's people rightly, and God granted it to him. (1 Kings 3)
I think it's important to note that God didn't just zap Solomon with wisdom. Rather, God gave Solomon an understanding and discerning heart so that he could apply God's law in all circumstances. God reiterated to Solomon the necessity of walking in His ways, and keeping His statutes and commandments, as his father David had done (1 Kings 3:14). God does the same thing with us when we ask Him for wisdom. He causes us to understand His Word and gives us the ability to apply His Word as we navigate through life.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10
If wisdom leads to happiness then the fear of the Lord is not only the beginning of wisdom, but of happiness, as well. And just what is this fear of the Lord? It has to do with a right understanding of God. That He alone is the creator and sustainer of life. That He alone deserves all praise, glory, and honor. That He alone is holy, righteous, and just. That He alone reaches down in love to save sinners. And that He alone will judge the earth with holy wrath. This kind of fear is no mere emotion, but an understanding or perspective that shapes our very lives. And a true fear of the Lord will always lead to obedience to God.
Therefore the Lord is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the Lord is a just God. All who wait patiently for Him are happy. Isaiah 30:18
I read this verse yesterday in my 90 day Bible reading. The context is that of Judah's impending judgment for her rebellion against God. Even in judgment God is gracious and merciful, not punishing us according to what we deserve. Even in the midst of difficulty and suffering, we have the promise of future happiness if we wait on Him. God is our hope and salvation. The happiness of His people does not depend on external circumstances, but on a trustworthy God. The happiness of His people lasts for all time. One of my favorite passages on this future hope is Hebrews 11:13-16, but I have to end on a Psalm.
Blessed (or happy) is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. Psalm 1:1-3
In summary, God reveals Himself to us in His Word. His Word is true and right and true happiness comes when we submit ourselves to His plans and His law. This is good news for those who fear the Lord and walk in wisdom. It means that no matter our circumstances we can find lasting happiness in the Lord and His Word. It's bad news, however, for those who do not trust in the Lord for their salvation. Their happiness is temporary like "the chaff which the wind drives away". I guess we need to ask ourselves which kind of happiness we want.